Elson Kambalu is a name that people have associated with visual arts over the years but the artist has breathed a fresh life into his artistry by venturing in film making.
Kambalu who has said that he is passionate about art proved over the weekend that he was in the trade not to make up numbers but to be among them best when his short movie Going South scooped two awards Best Cast and Best Actress during the two-day Lilongwe Shorts Film Festival.
The festival which debuted this year and was held at Crossroads Hotel from friday to sartuday saw about 70 films being screened according to Kambalu.
"This is my debut film so to get two awards, I am very excited and this gives me encouragement," he said.
Kambalu said Going South follows a young man as he prepares for his departure to South Africa.
He however, said despite winning two awards, it was Mwizalero's Umunthu movie which was the major winner in the Malawian category. The film took home Best Director, Best Documentary and Best Film selected by the audience.
Other notable achievers during the festival which was sponsored by MultiChoice Malawi through DStv and Airtel Malawi include Intruder which won Best Short Film
Intruder is produced by area 23 based director Ahmed Abudu under his Satellite Entertainment company.
"Malawi has an amazing talent. An example is Ernest Chikuni's work on Mwiza's Umunthu and his own film, the Shoe Shiner, which had wonderful pictures. The film makers are there, but we need to make a connection with the audience," observed Kambalu.
He lamented the poor participation of Malawians saying that almost 80 percent were foreigners.
During the festival, Kambalu said Michael Phoya who is a film maker, author and Wikipedian in residence held a workshop for film makers and also screened his own film, Telling Our Stories.
"During the workshop film makers agreed that one of the ways to build an audience will be to take films to the communities. We therefore wish to hold some local shows in Lilongwe for free in order to encourage participation," he said.
Kambalu said another film also showcased Q Malewezi's film Journey to the 17th Letter, in which he recited the poem.
The festival also saw performances from artists including Q Malewezi, George Kalukusha, Adrian kwelepeta and Joshua Matonga.
The festival was organised by Lake of Stars Festival in partnership with Film Association of Malawi (Fama). The Lake of Stars Festival will be held on September 25-27 at Sunbird Nkopola in Mangochi.